A: I have been in healthcare since 1999. I worked in cardiac rehab and health promotion prior to completing my chiropractic education and working in a private chiropractic practice offering physical medicine and acupuncture services. During this time I also taught anatomy and physiology at a local massage school. My insatiable inquiry lead me to pursue a second doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine, a master’s degree in Advanced Clinical Practice and complete a 3 year residency in Family Medicine which included integrative training in primary care with naturopathic doctors, medical doctors and osteopaths with additional training in prenatal care, pediatrics and women’s health while working with a long-standing, primary care and home birthing practice. Prior to re-entering private practice I was an instructor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at National University of Health Sciences outside of Chicago, Illinois teaching Clinical Nutrition, Botanical Medicine, Women’s Health and Naturopathic Clinical Theory. In 2014 I founded Studio Within, a naturopathic medicine clinic located in White Bear Lake, MN. I’m thrilled to have a second location now at Wellness Minneapolis.
Q: What made you decide to become a naturopathic doctor?
A: I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but had a desire to care for people in a way that felt whole and engaging and uniquely personalized to the individual. I wanted my education to encompass basic and clinical sciences, and conventional therapies, but include training in philosophy and modalities that encompassed a wider and deeper understanding of human suffering as it related to the whole person and the profound connection we have to nature and each other. I wanted to understand how to search for the root cause of illness, to prevent dis-ease and to promote optimal health.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A: The realization that life is short and time is precious.
Q: What conditions do you most like to work with?
A: I’m excited about all of the new research indicating that we can have an overwhelming impact on multiple generations to come by optimizing our health prior to conception and during gestation. This is the greatest form of prevention that we have available to us. So I love working with families that want to optimize their health prior to getting pregnant.
I feel personally connected and honored to work with families who have had difficulty getting pregnant.
My personal life-long journey with digestive complaints, which ultimately lead to the diagnosis of Celiac disease, has provided me with in-depth insight into the healing and dedication necessary to understand digestive disease and maintaining a healthy gut. This experience lit a fire in me to help others dealing with digestive concerns, such as IBS, IBD, Celiac Disease, GERD, SIBO, Food Sensitivity/Allergy as well as autoimmune disease.
I also enjoy working with women who have been diagnosed with cervical dysplasia and HPV (human papilloma virus), the most common cause of cervical cancer. There is often a “watchful waiting” period between pap smears or procedures that can be utilized to clear HPV and/or work to improve the cellular health of the cervix.
I am fascinated and horrified by the number of people being diagnosed with autoimmune disease, such as thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s, Graves’), celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, etc. There is certainly a genetic component to this, but what has been realized more recently is that our lifestyle is contributing to the steep rise in incidence. What that means is we also have some control over the manifestation and progression of these diseases. Wow, what an empowering thought! There is even predictive autoimmunity testing available now.
Our world is so fast paced and the expectations we put on ourselves to keep up has placed an enormous demand on our spiritual, emotional, mental, nutritional and physical being that is so unrealistic. I am seeing new patients weekly with anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, nutritional deficiency, overall poor health, feelings of isolation and manifestation of disease as a result of this. It brings me great joy to work with patients on their journey back to health by re-establishing a foundation for healing one baby step at a time.
Q: What are you currently working on in your professional life?
A: I am currently working on a certificate in Herbal Medicine for Women, doing a mentorship program in Integrative Approaches to Fertility Care and completing the Institute for Functional Medicine Certification Program.
Q: What is your favorite vegetable?
A: My favorite vegetable is the Brussels Sprout. It’s not only delicious; it’s so darn cute! I love it roasted with a little coconut oil, lemon zest, fresh garlic and a dash of sea salt.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: My creative outlets include quilting, sewing, gardening, pottery, photography, reading and cooking. I love spending time and traveling with my husband, Mike, family and friends. I cherish quiet moments in my day that I spend doing nothing or the time I take to gently reflect on my day and life through journaling and meditation. I am a lover of nature. It fills up my soul and nourishes my spirit. So I get outside to celebrate living in my body. This might include cycling, skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, fly fishing and playing in the dirt of my garden tending to my medicinal herbs, wild flowers or vegetable garden.
Q: What do you look for in a health care practitioner?
A: I really enjoy practitioners that are willing to work in collaboration with me and my personal values and beliefs, someone that is authentic, that can laugh, be a good listener and offer honest, but gentle, caring guidance in a supportive environment. I really appreciate being seen as a unique individual and having an opportunity to ask questions and be well informed.